HIV/AIDS home-based care on the agenda
Stabroek News
February 16, 2007

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The first ever national Home Based Care (HBC) conference started yesterday.

The two-day conference is being held at the Sea Breeze Hotel, Pere Street under the theme 'Bringing Care Home'.

Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy said that he believes that the programme provides the opportunity to address a number of issues and it also gives persons care that they would be unable to get at hospitals. HBC provides care and support for person affected by HIV/AIDS at their homes and the minister said that it is easier for persons to fall out of their treatment programme when they have to get up and go to the clinic for care.

He noted that stigma and discrimination can be reduced through the programme since the care is taken home and persons are not exposed to the public when seeking treatment. He said that home based care is an integral part of the country's national HIV response but he noted that such care is also provided in the tuberculosis programme. He said that the care is not an option but rather an imperative for life and since the programme started about four years ago some 1,000 persons are being cared for.

The minister said he has trained people and a manual has been prepared and the programme has quality assurance.

According to the minister, Guyanese Living with HIV/AIDS (G+) is the organisation that pioneered having infected persons being part of their care and support programme and now there are at least five organisations that have persons living with the virus working with the ministry in the area. He said this has proven that there cannot be success in the HIV/AIDS fight if persons living with the virus are not involved. He said he wants families to be involved as they are moving the onus away from people having to visit hospitals for treatment.

The conference will have international speakers and it is being held by the Public Health Strengthening in Guyana Project and the Canadian Society for International Health in collaboration with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat.